By Ben Houston
Beer Lands, Wine Lands, Cheese Lands, Choco Lands, Laugh Lands, Nom Nom Lands, Bennie Lands and The Jets Lands, Booty Shakin Lands, Groove Lands, Vibe Lands, Hug Lands, Makeout Lands, Art Lands, Bro Lands, Bae Lands, Bay Lands, Dance Circle Lands, Walk Lands, Run Lands, Sit Down Lands, Stretch Lands, Porta Potty Lands, m.A.A.d. Lands, Stage Dive Lands, Drink A Water Lands, Face Paint Lands, Denim Lands, Flannel Lands, High Five Lands, Smoke Lands, Whiskey Lands, Random Bear Lands, Totem Lands, Ranger Dave Lands, Festival Lands, Our Lands, Your Lands, My Lands, OUTSIDE LANDS!
We have our top ten electronic-esque artists to look up, listen to and love from this years lineup PLUS what we think is their favorite part of the festival. It’s gonna be a beautiful weekend and I’m gonna give high fives to every single one you (make sure to look at my elbow for the perfect high-five).
When those “Huarache Lights” shine in my eyes I may go blind but my feet will know exactly where to go. These legends have one of the finest albums of 2015 and track records over a fifteen year career together. The mishmash of legendary players in Hot Chip is what makes this collective so special, they’re masters and we are here to bask in the crispest sounding live music you can create. Their live shows are even better than the albums so get there early, make some room to boogie and soak in the synthy glory.
Favorite Part of OSL: BEER LANDS - I would just love to have a couple pints with these English gents and get a little rowdy. I’m sure the stories would be flowing as they shared tales of the road with all the local brew men and women sharing their delicious suds from Humboldt’s Mad River to Berkeley’s new Fieldwork. The great thing about Outside Lands compared to most fests is the fact you can walk around with your drinks, so enjoy the freedom and don’t take things too far! We don’t want you to spill on peoples sweet vintage boots that they realized was a big mistake because they got hella dusty walking from Twin Peaks to the Main Stage.
One of the most innovative artists in electronic music, Mr. Delong has evolved his sound and reached a larger audience than ever before. If you haven’t seen him it’s a treat on the ears and eyes as the one man band sings, drums and live mixes on modified video game controllers and gizmos. He is fast moving and precise, like a mad scientist looping and mixing on the fly. The Friday early afternoon rush matches up perfectly with the beginning of his set and it should promise a solid drum circle dance party with packs of friends freshly lit from earlier pre-gaming.
Favorite Part of OSL: LIVE ART - Delong knows a thing or two about painting, always rocking a signature couple face paint streaks at his shows. His fans follow suit and it’s quite the simple festival-fresh branding. Check out all the amazing local artists works from the Outsider Art Program as they work their incredible skills out in all kinds of styles all live. We’re doing it live!
The romantics anthem of the year “Can’t Do Without You” will be glorious ringing over the Twin Peaks Stage valley. This is a more mellow approach to electronic but it’s a life and taste altering experience that you’ll want to be a part of before heading out to the Main Stage to see Sir Elton John play the hits. I always enjoy a great leftside hill Twin Peaks session so you can find me there bobbing and swaying like a eucalyptus tree.
Favorite Part of OSL: THE BACK WINE (MINI GOLF COURSE) - Its a year of firsts at Outside Lands and one of the highlights is a wine pairing mini golf course over by Wine Lands. Sounds like a lovely date already and I’m sure the romantic tudes of Caribou would appreciate bringing their bae for some sauvs and swings on a course designed like The Bay and paired with Cannonball Wine Company drank.
Believe me, you wanna know what those peanut butter vibes are all about and Glass Animals will show you whats up. This isn’t the purest form of electronic by any means but that is the beauty of this great festival. Many of the bands are hybrid forms of rock and pop with touches of electronic and splashes of synth. So many of my favorite bands I’ve seen at Outside Lands other than the legendary classics were perfect examples of this crossbred band like Cut Copy and Jagwar Ma. Check out others this weekend like Chet Faker and Django Django while you’re at it!
Favorite Part of OSL: CHOCO LANDS - Peanut butter vibes meet Sharona’s Chocolate Factory peanut butter cups and s’mores. Its a match made in sugary ’Gooey’ heaven. Remember though kids, the one rule of Outside Lands is you never Choco Lands at night. I kidd, but I’m a little freaked by the cockney clowns that have made this Willy Wonka wonderland their home.
Mark my words, this will be one of the most wildly intense and intensely vivid moments of the weekend. Young Porter’s Worlds album was the most well received and applauded of last year and he’s carried the momentum with a strong slate of festival appearances including Coachella and last weekend’s Hard Summer, both of which festival friends came back from wide-eyed and telling me, “You shoulda been there man, holy FUCK.” This will be my first Porter Robinson experience and I am ready to fly off like a firework when “Lionhearted” starts kicking into gear.
Favorite Part of OSL: THE BARBARY - I gotta say it, Porter Robinson looks like he could use a hug sometimes in his music videos (like an anime emo superhero) and therefore he’s probably down for some whole body laughter at the Barbs. I’m making it a goal to get in there and see a show this year. Mayhaps the Members of the Daily Show News Team or the one woman wonder Tig Notaro who has an awesome looking upcoming HBO Special.
If you don’t know who the heck Brazil’s Amon Tobin is just watch the video below. This is the last time he is doing his legendary ISAM 2.0 stage that you’ll see in the video and that swan song deserves all our eyes and ears. It is mesmerizing stuff and with a cinematic electronica sound to boot, you’ll never unsee those images on the cubes. A first timer myself, this is the most mysterious set of my weekend and I’m very excited to unwrap these boxes and see what’s inside.
Favorite Part of OSL: AKRO-YOGA COUPLES- I feel like the SF craze Akro-Yoga was born in Brazil for some reason. Seems like something they’d be into. Plus Amon Tobin likes very layered visual structures (there’s your idea for ISAM 3.0 Bro). The Dolores Park local performers should be out in full force and if we were doing a festival scavenger hunt (which I highly recommend you do!) I suggest adding a triple stacked session going down. I’ll be the guy running by and pushing them over.
The Bay Area native will get his people going. The man behind the cushy bassy decks is Charlie Yin, a UC Berkeley native, chihuahua owner and a real chill dude. In addition to a crunchy EP released on Fools Gold, he supported fellow Outside Landing bumper Porter Robinson on his Worlds Tour last year and is already making moves in 2015 with an impressive single “Impression Of You” alongside SF’s Viceroy and vocalist Patrick Baker.
Favorite Part of OSL: KARL THE FOG- A local bay area bro knows Karl all too well. He will most definitely make an appearance this year as he does every year and I can’t wait to see him peeking through the trees as they’re lit up in shades of pink and blue at night. We love you Karl! But like, just as a friend. Chill out.
TORO Y MOI
Chaz Bundick is the chillest spazz around. He’s calm natured, but all over the map with his music, sound, personas and associations. Its awesome how much he’s handling at a given time, creating music for both his acts Toro Y Moi and his more experimental side boo, Les Sins. His new album “What For?” took the shogaze and chillwave groove to a more acid washed look and sound and I imagine the psychadelic wanderers of the fest are gonna love this set. If you want some real NorCal attitude infused in your life instead of rockin with Billy Idol be sure to catch Chaz and Co..
Favorite Part of OSL: TREE SITTERS - If you’ve seen Toro Y Moi’s music video for “Say That” you’ll know the dude loves the East Bay and he loves sitting/lying/hanging in trees. The dude is a true leopard in toro clothing, just chillin singing songs. I find it all too perfect that he will be playing the Twin Peaks stage where you can find the majority of the festival tree people posted up on the back left with one of the best views in the house. In fact it already sounds like a great idea, make sure to claim your branch early.
These gents are nothing but a damn good time, lemme tell ya what. They bring a disco and 80s dance flavor to the lineup this year that is much needed. Before we all revel in the genius of Kendrick on Saturday night make sure to tie up your laces, give those calves and hammmies a nice disco stretch and get limber on the grassy dancefloor with a couple cats who can party with us mice. I just have one question for you all….Do you like bass? Do you, do you like bass?
Favorite Part of OSL: NiGHT SHOWS - Not just any night show though, THEIR Night Show. That’s right, aside from The Drums, Robert Delong and Win Butler, the boys are gonna be spinning a DJ set alongside STRFKR for FLOODfest on Saturday Night. For some reason Outside Lands ends HELLA early every night this year meaning we have hours to enjoy Bar & Club Lands. Grab your tix HERE and continue that groovy dance party into the night.
The House of Heineken has always been a haven to get some two stepping footwork out of your system but this years lineup especially boasts some bangarang beatmakers from all over the world. Sweden’s Jonas Rathsman’s deep house rumbles and affinity for crooning vocalist fan favs like Sam Smith, Duke Dumont and Tensnake on his remixes are as good as they get and with this being one of his only stops on a brief US tour I highly recommend you go moth to the flame when he starts his early evening set.
Favorite Part of OSL: THE HOUSE BY HEINEKEN - Jonas reps the best roster the Heineken House has seen, from the ladies of Eli + Fur to a 3.5 hour battle of grooveberry pie when Wolf + Lamb goes b2b with Soulclap, this year you gotta make some time to grab a brew and enjoy this warehouse party-esque atmosphere. They’ll be spinning tunes all day, all night, just don’t get lost in the groove for too long. There’s a whole festival out there!
No matter what Lands you find yourself in its gonna be a damn good time. Stay safe, drink waters, hug your friends and be good to one another. Enjoy this playlist with all the artists we're looking forward to hearing and see y'all out there...Woo Hoo Lands!
Photos by the great Kirk Williams